Gideon’s LIFT legislation, along with Rep. Trey Stewart’s STEP legislation,  now move to the House and Senate for votes

AUGUSTA – Speaker Sara Gideon’s bill LD 1774“An Act To Reduce Child Poverty by Leveraging Investments so Families Can Thrive” (LIFT) today earned the unanimous support of the Committee on Health and Human Services. LD 1772, “An Act To Secure Transitions to Economic Prosperity for Maine Families and Children” (STEP), which is sponsored by Rep. Trey Stewart and co-sponsored by Gideon, also earned unanimous support from the Committee.

Together, these bills make up the Invest in Tomorrow bill package, which seeks to help families in poverty meet their basic needs and ensure economic opportunities are accessible once those families are stabilized and able to take advantage of them.

“We have the chance to make real positive change in the lives of Mainers experiencing poverty—for families who are struggling and only want better, brighter futures for themselves and their kids,” said Gideon. “If we make the investments that are called for in these bills, we’re going to see the dividends pay off in a big way for our State today and in the years to come.”

Gideon’s LIFT bill will address the MaineCare “benefits cliff,” put in place accountability and transparency measures at the Department of Health and Human Services, give more families access to TANF benefits by eliminating the “Gross Income Test,” and provide additional funding to the Parents as Scholars program.

Stewart’s STEP bill will reduce the benefits cliff for TANF recipients, address the SNAP benefits cliff, provide funding for whole-family economic security initiatives to apply for grants from DHHS, and enable TANF recipients to count time spent pursuing their GED toward their work requirements.

Gideon’s LIFT and Stewart’s STEP bills both have Democratic and Republican co-sponsors.

Both bills now face votes in the House and Senate.